DENVER — A preschool teacher filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday against a Denver Police officer who faces a criminal indictment for his role in a police shooting that wounded six innocent bystanders in July.
Angelica Rey said she was shot in the leg by Officer Brandon Ramos as she celebrated a promotion on a crowded street in LoDo. She spent three days at Denver Health recovering and only recently was able to return to work.
"Even on the news, they can’t show how much blood was pouring out of my leg because that’s how graphic it was," she said. "I still cry about it every day. I’m still in pain every day."
Denver Police said officers were trying to confront a suspect they believed to be armed after he was involved in a fight outside a bar near 20th and Larimer. When they approached, body camera video showed Jordan Waddy pulled a gun out of his pocket and threw it away.
As he did so, three officers fired. Waddy was hit and six bystanders were injured, police said.
From Ramos' angle, Waddy was standing in front of a large crowd of people gathered around a food truck. A grand jury indicted him, but cleared the other two officers.
Rey is seeking unspecified damages from Ramos. The city attorney's office will defend him and will pay any settlement from taxpayer dollars, Rey's lawyer Tony Viorst said.
"If there's any compensation to be paid, the city of Denver will pay it," Viorst said. "It won't be paid by Officer Ramos himself."
Last year, Denver either settled or was ordered to pay more than $17 million in claims against the police department. With five other bystanders injured in the LoDo shooting, Rey's lawsuit is likely the first of several.
"Officer Ramos clearly acted recklessly and clearly violated the rights of anyone who got hit with his bullet," Viorst said. "I think the Denver Police Department might be a little more careful next time."
The department said it could not comment because of the pending litigation and Ramos' criminal case. He is facing 14 counts, including eight counts of assault.
"I would like justice for myself. I feel like I need to be compensated because of the toll that it’s taken on my life," Rey said.
She has returned to work as a preschool teacher in Parker, but can only work part-time because of lasting injuries to her leg. She remains in physical therapy.
"I know I may not ever be 100% like I was before," she said. "But I am trying to get back to that."
The criminal cases against both Waddy and Ramos continue working their way through the court system.
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